Skip to content

Mt. Israel

April 7, 2019

Special: New Hampshire Edition

Introductory Guide to Visiting the White Mountains

This four mile hike is included among New Hampshires ‘52 with a View‘ – this list is composed of ‘view hikes’ with summits under 4,000 feet.  They’re generally considered milder hikes compared to the above-treeline 4,000-footers.  Mt. Israel is still a steep climb – ascending close to 2,000 feet in two miles. The view at the top wasn’t as nice as many other hikes we’ve done in the area, but it was still a good choice for a beautiful summer day.

View the Full Album of Photos From This Hike

Mt. Israel

A few of Mt. Israel from the valley floor. Below: The Mead Base Conservation Center; The trailhead; Stone stairs.

  

Christine Says…

Our last day of vacation was the only day we had low-humidity, cool breezes, and bluebird skies!  We had packing to do, so we needed a final hike that was relatively short and located close to my parent’s home. Mt. Israel was another hike we had passed over in our hiking guide several times. The route outlined in the book was an 8-mile loop with quite a bit of road walking. Generally, I prefer to avoid road walks, so we had always opted for other hikes. Then, I happened to stumble across a four-mile, no-road-walking route on the ‘52 with a View‘ list, and decided that Mt. Israel might fit the bill after all.

Parking for this hike was at the Mead Base Conservation Center. The center has programming, concerts, community events, camping, and plenty of parking for day hikers.  Our route to the top, the Wentworth Trail, starts just to the left of the building (as you’re facing it).  The hike gets off to a quick ascent and is relentlessly uphill all the way up to the ridgeline.  Like most New Hamsphire trails, there are lots of roots and rocks. There are a few places with slick slab granite, but they’re not terribly steep or extensive. The terrain is generally simple and non-technical.

Views of Squam Lake

On the climb, you get an obstructed view of Squam Lake. Below: More scenes along the trail.

 Views from the Climb of Mt. Israel Views from the Climb of Mt. Israel

The first view comes from a little rocky outcropping about a mile and a half up the mountain.  It’s obstructed, but if you peek over the trees, you’ll get a nice look at Squam Lake.  You can’t see the lake from the actual summit, so this is a good spot to get a different vista.  Shortly after the lake view, the trail levels out and goes through a mossy, piney, boggy area. Right before the ledges, you’ll pass the junction with the Mead Trail.  The Mead Trail and Guinea Pond Trails are part of the loop I mentioned earlier in the post.

After the junction, you walk a short distance out onto a series of rock ledges.  From the first ledge, bear to the right and continue following the trail through the trees.  There is a little bit of very mild rock scrambling through a little saddle before you come out on more ledges.  These ledges are more open and provide a nice mountain view. The actual summit of Mt. Israel supposedly is marked by a large cairn – however, it appeared to be mostly toppled when we hiked.  The rock pile had once clearly been a cairn, but it was reduced to a gathering of football sized rocks.

We sat on the summit for a while, enjoying the picture-perfect day.  We always love the time we spend in New Hampshire and appreciate the endless options for trails the area provides.  We eventually made our way down, following the Wentworth Trail again. On our way home, we stopped one more time for lobster rolls at our favorite little lakeside shack. Until next time, New Hampshire!

Views from the climb of Mt. Israel.

Views from the Climb of Mt. Israel Views from the Climb of Mt. Israel Views from the Climb of Mt. Israel

Adam Says…

As Christine said, this was our last day before heading back to Virginia.  We had trouble picking a hike for the last day.  We love it when we can get an amazing hike to remember, but this wasn’t one of the best up here.

I would say that this is a great trail for trail runners.  From my experience with trail runners, they tend to look more out for where their feet are stepping and less on the scenery around them.  A trail like this one would give plenty of challenge with terrain and elevation gained, but the summit is less than ideal.

Christine enjoying the summit views from Mt. Israel. Below: The junction of the Wentworth Trail and the Mead Trail; Summit scenery.

Trail split Summit of Israel Summit of Israel

The hike started off in thick forest and had some areas of rocky areas and narrow trail.  There wasn’t anything dynamic to talk about much during the hike until we reached the view for Squam Lake.  The view of Squam Lake in the distance was nice, but was probably nicer 10-15 years ago before the trees obstructed the view.  About half a mile past this viewpoint, you reach the summit.  The summit is actually just a larger boulder that you can climb to take in the view.  Again, the trees growing up here has obstructed a lot of the view.  We spent a while walking around from the summit boulder to try and see if there was a nicer spot for a viewpoint, but after investigating for quite some time, we found things were obstructed in every direction around here.  We enjoyed a snack at the top before heading back.  It is always nice to take in some New Hampshire mountain views, I just wish it had been more dynamic for our last hike of our visit.  This may be in the ’52 with a view’ list, but there isn’t much of a view keeping this on the list.

Trail Notes

  • Distance – 4 miles
  • Elevation Change – 1808 feet
  • Difficulty –  4.  The climbing is quite steady, but there is nothing tricky or technical.
  • Trail Conditions – 4. Trail clubs in the area have taken very nice care of this trail.  There are some obvious improvements with stairs, waterbars, and grading along the route.
  • Views –  3.5. They weren’t as nice as we hoped for.  Trees have grown taller, obscuring a lot of the view.
  • Waterfalls/streams – 0. None of noteworthiness.
  • Wildlife – 3.  Normal squirrels, birds, and chipmunks.
  • Ease to Navigate –  4.5. The Wentworth Trail is a straight shot to the summit.  There is one place that seems like it’s the top, but is actually a false summit. If you look out toward the view, the trail actually continues through the woods to the right. The actual summit is a few hundred yards past this point.
  • Solitude – 3.  It’s a fairly popular trail with locals. We started early and saw a small handful of people, all on our way down the mountain.

Trail Map:

Click to download full size map.

Elevation Profile:

Click to download full size elevation profile.

Directions to trailhead:

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: